What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain – or lumbar spine pain – can be the result of a single event or trauma, or the result of a combination of factors including poor posture, declining physical fitness, and/or repetitive activities, including faulty lifting, bending, or twisting. Previous injury and family history may also be a contributing factor.

Lower back pain is usually non-serious and resolves within 2-6 weeks. Sometimes, back pain is accompanied by upper back pain, buttock pain, or pain down the leg. Physical therapists at Saunders Therapy Centers can get to the root cause of your pain, and provide immediate treatment to lessen the intensity and duration of your pain. In some cases, you only need one or two clinic treatments. Common causes of back pain include:

Muscle Strain: Sleeping without proper support, over-working during exercise, or bending or twisting the “wrong way” can cause a temporary but very painful strain. You may not be able to rotate, flex, or extend your back fully. It may hurt more to move around or change positions.

Lumbar Osteoarthritis: This is a wear-and-tear condition, also called lumbar arthritis. As we age, the space between vertebrae in the back decreases, and excessive friction can cause pain. Even though structural changes are inevitable with age, pain is not! Improving posture and strengthening the stabilizing muscles (the abdominal core and hips) is key to help with this condition.

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease: Though scary-sounding, this condition is closely related to osteoarthritis, in that it is a wear-and-tear condition. Disc degeneration typically causes a low-level chronic back pain with occasional episodes of more severe pain. Treatment is similar to osteoarthritis and involves postural training, core strengthening, and manual therapy.

Facet Joint Syndrome: The joints between each vertebra can become slightly misaligned or inflamed, causing pain. Manual therapy techniques can restore normal motion and decrease inflammation.

Lumbar Disc Herniation: Between each vertebra is a structure called the “disc”, which can bulge or herniate, placing pressure on nearby structures including the nerves. More severe disc herniations can cause leg, foot, and toe pain and weakness. Lumbar traction and manual therapy techniques can be helpful. Surgery is not always necessary, so physical therapy should usually be tried first.

manual therapy for back pain

How Can We Help?

Saunders Therapy Centers therapists are highly skilled at evaluation, and will know the specific techniques to use depending on the source of your symptoms. When your pain improves (often rapidly!), almost all lower back pain patients benefit from postural restoration and exercise to restore normal muscle length and strength to prevent a future episode.